PUBLISHED: 5:01 PM on Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Conservation nearly leads to house fire
JUNEAU - A valley home nearly caught fire in the early morning hours on April 18 when a resident decided to use an outdoor kerosene heater indoors to conserve energy.

The Capital City Fire Rescue Team was alerted when the heater started producing sparks. No one was injured, but Fire Chief Eric Mohrmann is concerned the energy crisis may create more dangerous opportunities than usual as residents try to conserve energy.

The use of candles, barbecue grills and outdoor heating devices could be lethal, he said.

"We understand under the circumstances the risk will probably increase during the next three months," he said. "Some of the problem we're going to run into with this high spike is people trying to heat their homes with alternative methods ... to cut down on energy use."

Alaska Red Cross District Director Reid Bowman was contacted shortly after fire rescue was notified. He said had the family inside the home been sleeping the fire would likely have been fatal.

Both Mohrmann and Bowman are concerned that residents using candles, outdoor heaters, and even barbecue grills inside homes to conserve energy will lead to more house fires.

"Putting your family in danger isn't worth saving money," Bowman said.

Another hazard of kerosene heaters and barbecue grills is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

For more safety tips and brochures, visit or the Capital City Fire Rescue's web site at